For better or for worse, nearly everyone owns a smartphone these days. This includes our young athletes who don’t even have jobs to pay for the phone! Due to the widespread usage of smartphone and tablet devices, a variety of applications have been created, especially in the sports training domain. Smartphone applications enable coaches and sports scientists to quantify and measure various physiologically variables related to health and human performance that essentially removes the need for laboratory-grade equipment for testing.
One can easily acquire heart rate and heart rate variability data with their phone. We even have the option to collect this data via heart rate straps (traditional or Bluetooth), finger sensor or even by placing our index finger over the light of a camera phone which serves as a photo-plethmysograph. We can track barbell velocity with a simple accelerometer or linear positions transducer that synchs to our phones via Blutetooth. We can perform movement analyses, collect wellness questionnaires, conduct reaction time tests and so on and so forth.
A new smartphone app on the market (currently only designed for the iPhone 5 s) developed by Spanish sports scientists can allegedly provide vertical jump height data. The user simply records the feet of an athlete as they perform a vertical jump. Then, the user selects the last frame from the video before the athletes feet leave the ground and then the frame where the athletes feet touch the ground at landing. The app then determines the flight time of the jump and provides a predicted vertical jump height.
The app is called “My Jump” and it was recently cross validated with force plates and published in the European Journal of Sports Science. Five maximal counter-movement jumps were recorded from 20 healthy male subjects. Statistical analyses showed near perfect agreement between the force plate and the app (intraclass correlation coefficient = 0.997, p = <0.01) with very tight limits of agreement. Therefore, it appears that vertical jump height can be accurately assessed with your smartphone and the My Jump app.
Balsalobre-Fernández, C., Glaister, M., & Lockey, R. A. (2014). The validity and reliability of an iPhone app for measuring vertical jump performance. Journal of sports sciences, (ahead-of-print), 1-6.